Hello Canada! The boys are hiking and the girls in
town, shopping yet again! So, I thought I would take
this opportunity to send out a more detailed
description of our trip.
It started very well for \Gord and me as we were
bumped to first class upon departure...Air Canada
needed a couple more seats in the cattle car, Gord new
the chap on the desk - so we were the lucy ones. The
weight gain began about 1/2 hour from departure time.
From Lndon to Belfast was uneventful. Landed and my
cousin Norm's husband Ricky meeted us with a school
mini bus and took us and the gear to our B & B. It
rained on and off for the rest of the day. Gord and I
had dinner with long lost relatives - Norma, Ivor and
Florence, all cousins of mine. Really super people -
wish you all could meet them. Had a wonderful dinner.
The rest of the Irish group headed out to a pub. We
were all really tired - about 26 hours without sleep
by the time we got to bed.
Belfast to Ballemoney 89 kims. 10-15 degrees Sunny
GREAT RIDE - COUNTRYSIDE WAS beautiful. Visited
relatives in Ballymena and toured my mums old
homestead. Saw the school I attended many years ago.
B & B in Ballymoney was warm - hospitality super.
Weight gain well underway.
Ballymoney to Cushendun. 10-15 degrees. 72 kms
Cloud with sun. Headwind. Toured the Giants Causeway,
Carrick-a-reede. After playing tourist, we hit hills
never seen before by any of us - worse than the Gaspe
- straight ups and downs with twists illegal in most
countries. Designed by the sheep who frequent the
hills and still use the roads to wander over. Scenery
is amazing. Arrived at our B & B only to find that it
was straight up a hill - about 1 km in. The hostess
felt so sorry for us that she offered to take us to
town ( 2 shifts - cars only hold 4 people) and fetch
us once we were finished eating. We must have looked
pretty sad! It was a really difficult cycle. Weight
gain coming along just fine...
Cushendun - Larne 10-15 degrees cloudy, some
sun, some showers. 52 km
A most pleasant day following the coast. No major
hills, some headwind. We have learned one important
fact in Ireland - no one ever knows the weather! If
the weather is known - the forecast is wrong! Locals
are complaining that it is colder and rainier than
most springs. B & B in Larne is super as all have
been., Larne is not a pretty town - a port and perhpas
an industrial town - from here we hop a train to
Belfast. My cousins and their spouses visit us at our
B & B - so gald they took the time to meet us with us.
All the riding we have done and it only took them an
hour to get to Larne from Belfast! Had a great shat,
was sad to say goodbye.
Train from Larne to Belfast and Belfast to
Weather is steadly getting worse, more rain less sun.
Good to put our feet up in the train. The break from
cycling is nice - also affords us the opportunity to
chat with local folks. Peddle from the train station
to O'Connell street - WOW! So alive! Dublin is
oboviously a very busy centre - pubs, pubs pubs - all
full of smoke! We fresh air nuts have great difficulty
with the smokey atmosphere! So, we took a city tour
and saw all the highlights of Dublin. Really enjoyed
the city. Lots of shopping - Bruce you would have
Dublin to Cork. via rail 12-15 degrees. Weather
Arrived in Cork early afternoon. Cycled to our B & B -
not as fancy as what we had in the past but
sufficient. Toured Cork - Ron, Mother Goose, took his
goslings in tow.
Cork to Vallingeary 16-18 degrees sun cloud and
showers. Perhpas 60 odd kms.Today is finally warm!
Started out rainy, but soon changed to sun as we got
on our bikes. It only took us about 1 1/2 hours to
exit Cork - took a few wrong turns up a hill to die
for! 1 mile of hell!. Claudia fell off her bike and
left blood on the road! This is the day we kissed the
Blarney stone! Fun! All but Betty - she doesn't kiss
dirty stone! Great woolen shop in Blarney - lots of
money left behind. We spent a lot of time in Blarney
so had to make haste the rest of the afternoon,
cycling hard to get to our B & B - yet up another long
hill again. This place was wonderful - we had dinner
here also - and what a meal. Weight gain is going very
well. I couldn't eat all of mine but our host assured
uss that nothing goes to waste and whatever is left
over goes in the soup pot! Her husband Sean has been
to the US - trade shows - as well as being a postman
he has a leather factory and they ship to the US.
Great hard working family - had tea in the kitchen and
chewed the fat!
Vallingeary - Glengarrif 18-20 degrees 44kms.
Sunny - first stop was at Gougan Barra - beautiful
spot - smallest church in Ireland - booked solid for
weddings - on a lovely lake. Cycling pretty easy - got
showers in the afternoon - one other thing we have
learned about Ireland - the signs can be in kms or
miles and this changes with the weather - so you never
know just how far you are from anywhere - also, every
road leads to where you are going just a different
distance - no one cares! B & B is up agina - straight
up - we walked (except for Chris), met Harry a boxer
dog. This place was exotic! Garden on a steep hill
down to a river with a stone walkway snaking down.
Just beautiful. Had a great meal in a non smoky pub! A
few more pounds to carry around - in fact Gord and I
and Claudia did up a package of clothes to send home
just to keep the weight down! This is a touristry
place - housing expensive - we can see that we are
moving into an area that caters to tourists. Weather
Glengarrif to Kenmare. 64 kms 10-15 degrees
Today is our first serious climb in the south through
Healy pass. It wasn't too bad - reminded me of the
whites as we were above tree line. Switch backs all
the way up. Gord loved the down - scared me to death.
Nothing changes - I still hate the downs! At the top
of the pass it started to rain. Road is really narrow
- one lane but the traffic goes two directions. No
tour busses thank goodness. Rained hard in the
afternoon - found a pub and watched the end of a
soccer game. Got into Kenmare wet!
Kenmare to Killarney 32 kms. Next climb was up
Moll's gap. Clouds, rain, weather is getting
progressively worse. Climb was OK not as steep as Day
8. Stopped at a great coffee shop ( sweets enjoyed by
most) and gift shop. Money goes out again! Raining as
we go down the mountain into Killarney and through the
National Park. Sheep are scattered about the road so
Gord can't get up any speed - oh darn! I can keep up.
This park is amazing - paved biking trails throughout.
Lots of old remains of castles and abbeys and stone
homes, walls and bridges. WOnderful - except it is
pouring rain. Once we got to our B & B - up hill again
- we headed to town after an indoor picnic finishing
off all our goodies - for more shopping and finally
dinner. More food! After dinner Ron just had to show
us around town and all the sights - another 40 kms
riding around the park. Explored Rose Castle, the
Franciscan Abbey and the meeting of the rivers and
Touc waterfall. What a full day!
Killarney - hike day - it's raining, cats and
dogs, But the intrepid bikers head out....and it is
cold! Peddled to the trailhead, 10 miles, in the
downpour. Girls, being the voices of reason, decided
to head back to town and the guys, driven by
testrostrone and stubborness headed out. That was at
11:30 it's now 5:40 and we have not seen them yet!
\However, we enjoyed lunch in a thatched cottage -
soup and dessert! YUMMY!
That's it for now - tomorrow we head for the DIngle.
Rain is all around......and it's cold.
Having fun in the emerald isle!
Love to all - Nancy